My hat is off to all of the diehard gardeners who toiled rain or shine through May!! You are a constant source of amazement and you most certainly do rock! To those fair-weather gardeners out there…amen brothers and sisters, you are not alone!! Finally to those who diligently began their beach volleyball leagues last month…in the RAIN…are you completely out of your minds?
Alright, here’s the list:
Mow, with all the rain that might mean twice a week. Don’t despair it’ll start to slow down in August…possibly. During dry spells, raise the blade of your mower and allow the grass to be a bit longer. Also use a mulching blade, this will retain moisture and allow you to use over 60% less fertilizer.
Spot weed your lawn; there are excellent hand tools out there that will save your back. Also, its time give yourself permission to let go of perfection. It’s better for you, the environment and our native pollinators who quite like your weeds thank you very much.
Cut back the flowering stalks of your spring flowering perennials such as Pulmonaria, Bachelors Button, Lady’s Mantle and Irises.
To maintain a dense and more compact shape for your Fall Aster, Fall Mum or taller fall flowering Sedum varieties, pinch back the growing tips by about 3 to 5 inches depending how vigorously they have shot up this spring.
Stake your peonies if needed. Watch your local ant colony help them to open, fascinating stuff, and no you don’t need to spray them.
Do keep an eye out for aphids; we should have quite a vigorous population emerging. Spray off infestations with a sharp stream from the hose, they will not climb back up plus you’ve just torn off their mouthparts. Ewww. If your plant is too delicate for the hose, you can squish with your trusty garden gloves on of course or you can mix up one litre of water to a tablespoon of Palmolive or Ivory dish detergent (don’t use antibacterial soaps or lemon soaps, they will burn the leaves and blossoms). You can put in a capful of vinegar to keep the suds down and then in the early evening, spritz this on the aphids, making sure there are no ladybugs or other pollinators around when you do.
You can continue to weed your perennial and shrub beds and top-dress with mulch or compost depending on your garden.
Many of the leaves of your smaller bulbs should be browning and can be cut back. If you need too, you can lift larger flowering bulbs like daffodils to a pot so they can continue to wither out of sight.
If you haven’t done so already, shear your winter heather to maintain a nice compact shape.
Fertilize rhodos and azaleas after they bloom. Remove old blossoms if you like.
Keep those birdbaths clean and filled and remember to keep the hummingbird feeder clean and filled. You can cut back on the sugar slightly.
Continue to add aerators to your pond such as Water Hyacinth or Water Lettuce. If we have a solid week of sun, you can check ponds for leaks looking for soggy areas.
Thin apple crops if they have set too heavily, remove rolled leaves from mites, fertilize if you haven’t done so already.
Ventilate greenhouses big and small. Maintain humidity with a pebble tray or two in tiny greenhouses or by spraying the ground in later morning in larger greenhouses.
Continue to sow mesculin mix or salad mix or other short season veggies for a continuous supply.
Monitor summer flowering bulbs, with all the rain, bulbs in gardens with poor drainage may have suffered. If there are visible signs of life above the soil, yay. If there is nothing yet, wait a couple of weeks and consider getting a plan B backup plant.
Try to tame your Raspberry, Tayberry and Marionberry patch. That’s what I’m doing this month.
Help to guide your vines, both edible and ornamental. Trim, twine and tie where needed.
Bring in bouquets, experiment!
Enjoy baby greens in your favorite sandwich!! Baby chard, young spinach and kale, slightly wilted on some nice bread from your favorite artisan bakery, some sharp cheese and a nice fried egg from the farmer down the street. Yes, time for lunch! And don’t even talk to me about carbs and cholesterol…you haven’t even heard what I’m having for dessert!!!
Finally, grab a Farm Fresh Guide or google it, and when you have time, treat yourself to a road trip and grab some really great food, you can even meet the people that grow it!!